torture

noun
tor·​ture | \ ˈtȯr-chər How to pronounce torture (audio) \

Definition of torture

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the infliction of intense pain (as from burning, crushing, or wounding) to punish, coerce, or afford sadistic pleasure
2a : something that causes agony or pain
b : anguish of body or mind : agony
3 : distortion or overrefinement of a meaning or an argument : straining

torture

verb
tortured; torturing\ ˈtȯrch-​riŋ How to pronounce torturing (audio) , ˈtȯr-​chə-​ \

Definition of torture (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to cause intense suffering to : torment
2 : to punish or coerce by inflicting excruciating pain
3 : to twist or wrench out of shape : distort, warp

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Other Words from torture

Verb

torturer \ ˈtȯr-​chər-​ər How to pronounce torturer (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for torture

Verb

afflict, try, torment, torture, rack mean to inflict on a person something that is hard to bear. afflict is a general term and applies to the causing of pain or suffering or of acute annoyance, embarrassment, or any distress. ills that afflict the elderly try suggests imposing something that strains the powers of endurance or of self-control. children often try their parents' patience torment suggests persecution or the repeated inflicting of suffering or annoyance. a horse tormented by flies torture adds the implication of causing unbearable pain or suffering. tortured by a sense of guilt rack stresses straining or wrenching. a body racked by pain

Examples of torture in a Sentence

Noun Waiting is just torture for me. Listening to him can be torture. Verb The report revealed that prisoners had been repeatedly tortured. Don't torture yourself over the mistake.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun However, international rights groups charge that Chinese authorities are actually engaging in mass arbitrary detention, torture and mistreatment of Uighurs in Xinjiang. NBC News, "Teens, young adults are using TikTok to raise awareness for Uighur Muslims," 27 Nov. 2019 The insurers’ unreasonable demands that death certificates and original policy paperwork be produced is all but impossible for survivors who, at the time, had just survived death camps, forced relocations, torture and death marches. Marcy Oster, sun-sentinel.com, "House bill would help Holocaust survivors and families recover billions in insurance payments," 26 Nov. 2019 The letter cites multiple reports on Assange’s health over the years, including assessments by Nils Melzer, the United Nations special rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Kayla Epstein, Washington Post, "Reports of Julian Assange’s health suggest he ‘could die in prison,’ dozens of doctors claim," 25 Nov. 2019 Eye witnesses have reported guards using brutal forms of torture and rape, and people dying due to poor living conditions and lack of medical treatment. Max De Haldevang, Quartz, "How China brainwashes ethnic minority Uighurs in its mass detention camps," 24 Nov. 2019 The subjects, especially non-Chinese, usually claim at the first opportunity that the confessions were coerced through torture and threats to their safety or that of their family members. BostonGlobe.com, "The People’s Daily report follows a detailed online account Wednesday from the staffer, Simon Cheng, who says that he was tortured, questioned about prodemocracy protests going on in Hong Kong, and forced to confess during his detention in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen.," 22 Nov. 2019 In a letter addressed to Congress on Thursday, Trump cited accusations of torture and extrajudicial killings of citizens by the country's military as reasons for removing Cameroon from the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). Daniel Ekonde And Bukola Adebayo, CNN, "US removes Cameroon from trade pact over alleged 'persistent' human rights violations," 1 Nov. 2019 Her wounds told a harrowing story of torture and grit, says prosecutor Tim Braun. CBS News, "Heather Bogle murder: 3 innocent suspects, a lead detective behind bars and a killer hiding in plain sight," 19 Oct. 2019 These years of torture and shame kind of became my superpower. Georgia Slater, PEOPLE.com, "Sarah Silverman Talks Needing to 'Be Funny to Survive' in New Documentary About Mental Health," 11 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb What better way, thought researchers at the University of Southern California, to torture teach robots to manipulate the world around them. Matt Simon, Wired, "Why Robots Should Learn to Build Crappy Ikea Furniture," 22 Nov. 2019 The early 1990s were a time of daily bloodletting, as the Indian armed forces responded with limitless force, killing and torturing hundreds. Time, "Recollections of a Long Siege in Kashmir," 19 Nov. 2019 Cardinal Bergoglio recalls his inability to protect two radical Jesuits in Buenos Aires who, in the era of military rule, were abducted and tortured. B.c., The Economist, "Two new films explore the limits of Christian forgiveness," 13 Nov. 2019 But that and other ear-splitting blasts and explosions left Humphreys with anxiety and paranoia that often tortured both his sleeping and his waking life after he was honorably discharged from the U.S. Army and came home to Salem in 2014. oregonlive, "Oregon veterans connect and heal through film," 11 Nov. 2019 There’s no place in a civilized society for maiming and torturing animals— period,'' Blumenthal said. Daniela Altimari, courant.com, "Animal rights activists hail federal anti-cruelty law championed by Sen. Blumenthal," 6 Nov. 2019 Security forces also have been in a standoff with separatists in these areas, and both sides have been accused of killing and torturing citizens in the crossfire. Daniel Ekonde And Bukola Adebayo, CNN, "US removes Cameroon from trade pact over alleged 'persistent' human rights violations," 1 Nov. 2019 Robert Carilli, 38, of Merritt Island, was arrested in 2018, for imprisoning and torturing his girlfriend; he was released on bail a month later, Brevard County Jail records show. Joe Mario Pedersen, orlandosentinel.com, "No bond for Florida man accused of keeping girlfriend in wooden cage: report," 30 Oct. 2019 Those suspected of disloyalty are rounded up, jailed, and often tortured to death. Elizabeth Tsurkov, The New Republic, "The Syria Withdrawal’s Other Victims," 24 Oct. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'torture.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of torture

Noun

1540, in the meaning defined at sense 2b

Verb

1588, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for torture

Noun

Middle French, from Old French, from Late Latin tortura, from Latin tortus, past participle of torquēre to twist; probably akin to Old High German drāhsil turner, Greek atraktos spindle

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Time Traveler for torture

Time Traveler

The first known use of torture was in 1540

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Statistics for torture

Last Updated

3 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Torture.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/torturing. Accessed 6 December 2019.

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More Definitions for torture

torture

noun
How to pronounce torture (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of torture

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the act of causing severe physical pain as a form of punishment or as a way to force someone to do or say something
: something that causes mental or physical suffering : a very painful or unpleasant experience

torture

verb

English Language Learners Definition of torture (Entry 2 of 2)

: to cause (someone) to experience severe physical pain especially as a form of punishment or to force that person to do or say something
: to cause (someone) to feel very worried, unhappy, etc.

torture

noun
tor·​ture | \ ˈtȯr-chər How to pronounce torture (audio) \

Kids Definition of torture

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the act of causing great pain especially to punish or to obtain a confession
2 : distress of body or mind Waiting is just torture for me.

torture

verb
tortured; torturing

Kids Definition of torture (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to punish or force someone to do or say something by causing great pain
2 : to cause great suffering to

Other Words from torture

torturer noun

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